Cartilage Tissue Engineering

Document Type : Review Article


1 Experimental Research Unit, NRITLD

2 Department of Pathology,

3 Department of Vascular Surgery, Shaheed Beheshti University of Medical Sciences and Health Services, TEHRAN-IRAN


Cartilage has a poor regenerative potential with very low cell-density that contributes to its poor capability for self -repair .For this reason, autologous cartilage grafts have been used in reconstructive surgery .Today; the rapidly emerging field of tissue engineering holds great promises for the generation of functional cartilage tissue substitutes. The technique was initiated by harvesting cartilage cells (chondrocytes) from a donor site such as the nasal septum or the auricle. However, in clinical use of human chondrocytes for tissue engineering, extensive expansion of cell numbers from a small donor site biopsy was required and this could limit the chondrogenic potential of cells after proliferation. Therefore, the ability of chondrocytes to replicate in- vitro allowed the expansion of cell numbers to produce theoretically limitless supplies of cartilage autografts .Stem cell technology presents an alternative , immunoprivileged resource of cells with unlimited replicative capacity . These cells exist in a wide selection of tissues and provide the option of multi-lineage differentiation. This paper reviews the current evidence that stem cells may provide a superior cell resource for tissue engineered cartilage and outlines the methodology for their isolation and chondrogenic induction. (Tanaffos 2005; 4(14): 9-18)